Glory to Jesus Christ!
Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ!
Today is Wednesday 22 June 2022 and Ukraine is already experiencing the 119th day of this great, bloody, full-scale war which Russia is leading against the Ukrainian people.
And in the morning we always thank the Lord God and the Armed Forces of Ukraine that we are alive, that we survived to this morning dawn, that we see the sun’s rays, and that we can thank the Lord God for giving us another day.
During the last days the Ukrainian land shook. Bombs and rockets fell on peaceful towns and villages. People died. Across the front line, which stretches for almost 3,000 kilometres from north to south, there are heavy, brutal, and bloody battles and people are dying.
According to the reports we have received over the past 24 hours, the heaviest fighting is again taking place in the Luhansk region and in the north of the Donetsk region. It seems that the enemy has concentrated all its strength there, which is breaking its teeth on the courage of the defenders of Ukraine. But there are very heavy battles. We ask the Lord God to preserve and protect our soldiers who are saving the lives of the sons and daughters of Ukraine.
Intense shelling was carried out yesterday in the Sumy region, in particular in the border areas. And the enemy also attacked Kharkiv. This peaceful city was heavily shelled, killing at least 10 people in a residential neighbourhood of Kharkiv. I ask for prayer for Kharkiv and the Kharkiv region, which are suffering and bleeding from this Russian aggression. In the south of Ukraine, in the Kherson region, our Armed Forces are liberating villages, expelling the enemy from Ukrainian soil, albeit at the cost of their own blood. And we ask the Lord to stop the war and to give Ukraine peace.
Today I want to reflect with you on another fruit of the action of the grace of the Holy Spirit, another sign of the human person’s maturity in Christ. And this fruit of the Holy Spirit is called joy. Obviously, it’s not about some kind of joy in the form of entertainment. It is not about feelings of joy, because feelings come and go quickly. It is a matter of some deep spiritual joy, the meaning of which is the presence of the greatest, highest good, which is the Lord God.
Yesterday we talked with you about the fruit of the Holy Spirit, which is love—love in its unifying dimension. And this joy is the result of the human person’s union with God. When we feel that sometimes tears come to our eyes, nevertheless the One Whom we seek, the One Whom we love is present. He lets Himself be known, to be felt, and to be experienced. This joy is the culmination in the grace of the Holy Spirit of the virtue of our faith. Because the person who believes in God opens himself to Him and receives these sense organs, which can see and experience the greatest, closest good in me, which is the Lord God Himself.
Obviously, the joy that is the fruit of the Holy Spirit here on earth is only the beginning. For to rejoice fully in God and in God, to fully rejoice in the presence of His face, to rejoice fully in the joy of the saints in heaven, the joy of the blessedness of God Himself—this will take place only when we are fully united with Him after the end of our earthly life. But already here, we can feel His presence in us and around us, when we have formed the appropriate sensibilities and those spiritual senses.
Sometimes you can see and experience people who rejoice in this spiritual joy. Visiting those parts of Ukraine that were under occupation, visiting Sumy region, Kharkiv region, Poltava region, seeing these people who have suffered from Russian torture and bombs, you see people talking about their plight. But one can see some incomprehensible joy in their souls. This joy cannot be caused by any earthly factor. Because when you see a mother who sees and hugs her son, who has returned alive from the front, for at least a few minutes, she doesn’t know whether to cry or to laugh. But the one for whom she was so worried and prayed is now present here.
We ask in these cruel circumstances of war: O God, You, our joy, life, and paradise, come among us, visit us, O Christ! O Lord, be our only joy. Especially when we, as human beings, want to cry. May you be our joy when rivers of blood and a sea of tears flood Ukraine. O God, be our only joy when we ask ourselves about the meaning of our lives and suffering during this brutal war. You be our joy, which here on earth we can already experience in You and with You.
O God, bless Ukraine! Bless the children of Ukraine! O God, bless our land with Your presence! And grant us joy in You and with You!
May the blessing of the Lord be upon you through His grace and love of humankind, always, now and ever, and for ages of ages. Amen.
Glory to Jesus Christ!